Anansi the Spider: A tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott

Anansi the Spider: A tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott

anansi

Publishing: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, New York, 1972

Awards: 1973 Caldecott Honor

Description: Anansi the spider has six sons that are all good sons. They all have to come to his aid and rescue him when he gets into trouble, so when he finds a prize-a great globe of light-he is not sure which son should be rewarded. He gives it to the god of all things, Nyame, and when she sees them arguing over it, she puts it in the sky. It is still there-the moon. The illustrations are bold and geometric, almost tribal.

Programming: Have students point out Ghana on the map. Do a little bit of outside research about the Ashanti people and how they live before reading the story. Read other folktales, especially those that explain why something is the way it is, such as Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears. Compare and contrast the tales.

Arrow to the Sun: a Pueblo Indian Tale by Gerald McDermott

Arrow to the Sun: a Pueblo Indian Tale by Gerald McDermott

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Publishing: Viking, New York, 1974

Awards: 1975 Caldecott Winner

Description: This Indian folk tale tells the story of a boy who was born of a maiden and the Lord of the Sun. The boy is rejected by the other boys in the pueblo and goes to search for his father. The arrow maker makes the boy into a special arrow and shoots him to the sun where he must go through four trials to prove he is the Lord of the Sun’s child.

Programming: Because there are several other Caldecott list titles about Native American culture, students might compare and contrast this tale with the others. They might also talk about the typical elements of  a folk tale that are found in this story, such as a quest and a hero. Crafts might include some sort of indian art or home-made bows and arrows.